It's hard to win if you fail to throw strikes.
So after Saturday night's game against Idaho Falls, Owlz manager Tom Kotchman wasn't surprised.
The Owlz committed four errors and walked a season-high eight batters as the Chukars won 6-4 at Brent Brown Ballpark.
"You're playing Russian roulette," Kotchman said. "You're going to get blown up."
The Chukars made the Owlz pay dearly for those walks by stealing a total of eight bases.
Chukars center fielder Patrick Norris, who entered the game with a league-best 19 steals, added three more Saturday evening.
"They got some guys that can fly," Kotchman said. "You got to make those guys put the ball in play."
The Owlz are now 2-4 since clinching the Pioneer League South first-half title last Sunday and Kotchman admits there may be some complacency seeping into the clubhouse.
"It could be a little bit of a letdown," Kotchman said. "But they were here at 8 in the morning."
After a season-high six errors Friday night, the Owlz defense looked much of the same in the first inning Saturday. Norris led off with a grounder to third, but Luis Jimenez's throw pulled first baseman Carlos Garcia off the bag.
Norris swiped second and advanced to third after catcher Beau Brooks' attempt to throw him out skipped into center field. It looked like the Chukars would end up stranding Norris at third after Fernando Garcia and Antonio Jimenez struck out, but Shawn Griffin walked to extend the inning. Then, after seemingly having Griffin picked off between first and second, Garcia threw the ball into left field, allowing Norris to score.
All in all, the Owlz committed three errors in the inning.
"It just didn't start off on a good foot," Kotchman said.
Trailing 1-0, the Owlz responded in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer to left by Jimenez, his ninth of the season.
But the lead didn't last long.
Devery Van De Keere led off the top of the second with a walk. One out later, Van De Keere stole second. After another walk, this time to right fielder Neder Severino, Alwin Perez smashed a grounder off the front of the mound that ended up in left-center field. Center fielder Tyson Auer's throw home sailed up the first-base line, allowing Severino to advance to third and Perez to move into second. Norris than came up and laced a single to right, scoring Severino, giving the Chukars a 3-2 lead and chasing Owlz starter Andrew Taylor.
The Owlz tied the game again in the bottom of the fourth on a homer to left by Donato Giovanatto.
The game remained tied until the top of the seventh when the Chukars retook the lead for good. Jimenez led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a groundout by Griffin. Five pitches later, Jimenez raced home on a wild pitch by Jonathan Plefka. Griffin socked a homer just beyond the right-field wall in the top of the ninth to give the Chukars a two-run lead.
The loss concludes a brief three-game homestand for the Owlz, who now head back on the road to start a three-game series at Casper tonight.